Our penance


A communitarian spirituality also involves a communitarian “purification”, as Chiara Lubich explains in the following text. Just as loving our neighbour according to the Gospel brings great joy, so too a lack of relationships and of unity with others can cause suffering and pain.   

Since communitarian life must be fully personal as well, it is our general experience when we are alone that, after loving our brothers and sisters, we become aware of our union with God. … So it can be said that when we go to our brothers and sisters … by loving as the gospel teaches, we become more Christ, more truly human.

And, since we try to be united with our brothers and sisters, in addition to silence we have a special love for the word, as a means of communication. We speak in order to become one with others. We speak, in the Movement, in order to share our experiences of living the Word of Life, or of our own spiritual life, aware that the fire that does not grow is extinguished and that this communion of soul has great spiritual value. Saint Lawrence Giustiniani said: “Nothing in the world gives more praise to God and reveals him as worthy of praise than the humble and fraternal exchange of spiritual gifts….”[1]  When we do not speak, we write: we write letters, articles, books, diaries to advance the kingdom of God in our hearts. We use all the modern means of communication. …

In the Movement we also practice those mortifications that are indispensable for every Christian life. We do penance, especially as recommended by the Church, but we have special regard for those penances that a life of unity with others entails.

That is not easy, for the “old self,” as Paul[2], calls it, is always ready to find its way back into us.

Fraternal unity is not established once for all; it must be renewed continually.

When there is unity and through it Jesus is in our midst, we experience great joy, as promised by Jesus in his prayer for unity. When unity is compromised, the shadows and confusion return and we live in a kind of purgatory. That is the kind of penance we must be ready to practice.

Here is where our love for Jesus crucified and forsaken, the key to unity, comes in. We must first resolve all our differences out of love for him, and make every effort to restore unity.

Chiara Lubich

Taken from: “A Spirituality of Communion” in Chiara Lubich: Essential Writings, New City Press, Hyde Park, New York 2007, pp. 30-31.

[1] S. Lorenzo Giustiniani, Discipline and perfection in monastic life, Roma 1967, p.4.

[2] The old self: in the Pauline meaning of a person imprisoned by their selfishness, cf. Eph: 4:22.

1 Comment

  • UNA VEZ MÁS GRACIAS ” CHIARA ” ….YA QUÉ ME HA HECHO SENTIR….QUÉ PARA MÍ.
    JESÚS ABANDONADO EN OTRO CONTESTÓ. NOS DIJO, YO SOY ÉL CAMINÓ LA VERDAD Y LA VIDA !!!
    SIGO PIDIENDO A DIOS, QUÉ ME SIGA SOSTENIENDO…YA QUÉ DESEÓ ” SER FIEL”
    GRACIAS ” MANMÁ ” PER SEMPRE..

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